Need a little motivation to get off your butt? This may help…

I just recently finished a compelling book called Heroes for My Son by Brad Meltzer. I highly recommend it whether or not you have a son or kids. In it, Meltzer details—in a concise but compelling way—people who have overcome different kinds of challenges to become, in his mind, true heroes. (I’ve already pre-ordered from his next book, Heroes for My Daughter.

Two of the people he features are Team Hoyt ( I had never heard of this father-son duo before, so I did a bit more research on them—and realized why they are heroes, and also an inspiration for everyone.

Rick was born in 1962. Deprived of oxygen at birth (which—as a mom—I can’t even imagine), he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the result of his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and oxygen being cut off to his brain when he was born. Rick’s mind is intact but he can’t speak or control his limbs.

His parents were advised to institutionalize him because there was no chance of him living a “normal” life. But instead, they worked to teach him to speak and do, as best as possible, “normal” things that kids do. (In my mind, they’re hero parents too.)

Team Hoyt during one of their more than 1,000 races together. 

But when he was 15 years old, Rick told his dad that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed. His dad wasn’t a runner, but he pushed Rick in his wheelchair all 5 miles and they came in next to last. After that, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” Since then, they’ve completed over 1,000!!! races together, including marathons!, duathlons, and triathlons (six of which were…get this, IRONMANS! That’s a 2.4-mile swim and a 112-mile bike, topped off by a 26.2-mile run—a marathon.). If you’re wondering how they do it, his dad swims in the triathlons, pulling a boat with Rick in it. And they have a specially designed bike for the two of them.

After reading this, all my excuses for not fitting in my run, bike, or swim (or just exercising at all) seem completely lame. I mean, really, no excuses seem valid after reading this!

I’m reminded, too, of something Christopher Reeve said before he died: “I get pretty frustrated by people who are able-bodied but who are paralyzed for other reasons.” A great quote…and a good one to remember the next time you need a push to get out there—whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do!

* Update: Rick and Dick (his dad) just completed their last marathon together: Boston 2014. They planned to make the 2013 Boston Marathon their last—but then the bombings changed everything—for everyone. They may run smaller races together, but no more marathons or triathlons. Dick Hoyt is now 73 and Rick is 52; Rick may compete with others moving forward, but hasn’t decided yet.